Phil Jackson‘s name is coming up a lot lately. The former Bulls and Lakers coach was linked to management positions in Toronto and Seattle, and with all due respect to Jerry Sloan and Stan Van Gundy, Jackson remains the hottest ex-coach on the market.
All these nibbles from lesser franchises may come with a bigger goal in mind. Despite Jackson saying on “The Tonight Show” that he and Chris Hansen‘s Seattle group were in “serious talk” for him to take over basketball control of the Kings franchise before the NBA blocked the move, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that Jackson’s end game is — and always has been — the Lakers.
“Some league observers, however, remain convinced that Jackson’s flirtations with teams are largely aimed at convincing Lakers lead basketball decision-maker Jim Buss to cede his organizational power to sister Jeanie Buss — which would theoretically enable Jeanie to bring in Phil, her fiance, back to Lakerland as L.A.’s next front-office chief,” Stein writes.
Everybody in L.A., from coach Mike D’Antoni to general manager Mitch Kupchak, is on notice after the Lakers’ disappointing season. That disappointment could open the door for Jackson to return to the franchise that he brought five championships.